Sunday, August 10, 2014

Butter Biscuits

The kids fell in love with these biscuits this summer and quickly became obsessed with them. I think one day they ate 8 biscuits each! 
Each time I made biscuits, I doubled the recipe and froze half of the biscuits.  Now the kids can have biscuits on a school day without me having to break out the bag of flour.

My biscuits might not rise very high since they're 1/2 whole wheat and I roll them pretty thin but they are still very tasty.

Charlotte likes hers with butter but Evan prefers strawberry jam.

Charlotte and Evan's "Butter Biscuits" (adapted from: Buttermilk Baking Powder Biscuits: The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook)

2 cups flour (I use 1/2 AP and 1/2 Whole Wheat)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 stick chilled butter
2/3-3/4 cup buttermilk (or milk with 1 tsp. vinegar)

Heat oven to 425*.
Stir dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Use 2 knives or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour until the butter is about the size of peas.  Stir the buttermilk into the flour/butter mixture and stir just until the dough starts to come together. Use more or less buttermilk in order to make the dough just hold together. Don't over mix!
Dump the dough onto a lightly flour surface and press the dough together until it holds together pretty well.  Roll the dough out until it's about 1/4"-3/4" thick. Cut out with biscuit cutters or a juice glass.
Put biscuits on an ungreased baking tray leaving about an inch between biscuits. 
Bake for about 10 minutes or until the tops start to become golden brown. 

Serve warm or freeze when cool.
Makes about 24 biscuits if you roll them thin like me or 12 biscuits if you leave the dough thicker

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Homemade Flour Tortillas

If I'd known how easy it was to make flour tortillas, I would have made them long ago. They're so inexpensive to make and they don't take long at all once you get a system down.  They freeze well so you can make up a big batch and have them in the freezer ready for a meal on short notice.
I roll my tortillas out in a gallon sized storage bag with one side cut open. This keeps the dough from sticking on the counter.  The bag wrinkles but I just lift up the bag and smooth it again before rolling. 

My griddle was perfect for this task.  I would put down one tortilla and start rolling another one. By the time I had the new one rolled (~2mins.), I flipped the first tortilla over and then laid down my new one next to it.... then I'd roll another tortilla... 2 minutes later, the first tortilla was ready to go onto the plate, the second one was ready to be flipped and the third one went onto the griddle.  Does that make sense? It was a very efficient system.  If you don't have a griddle, you can cook one tortilla at a time in a large skillet (preferably a cast iron one).

I kept my finished tortillas stacked on a plate and covered with a slightly damp kitchen towel. It kept them soft until I was done. We filled our burritos with taco meat, tomatoes, and cheese.  They were delicious!

Homemade Flour Tortillas

3 cups flour (use All Purpose flour for the softest tortillas but you can do half whole wheat if you want. I wouldn't use all whole wheat or they're likely to be stiff)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
5 Tbsp. oil
3/4 cup warm water

Mix all ingredients together and knead until the dough comes together. You can use a stand mixer for this. The dough should be slightly sticky but shouldn't actually stick to things.  Let the dough sit on the counter top, covered with a damp towel, for about 10 minutes.  Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces.
heat a pan to medium heat. Do not grease the pan!
Roll out each piece of dough into a thin circle... the thinner, the better.  Cook each tortilla for about 2 minutes on each side or until there are small golden spots on it. If the spots are dark brown, turn down your heat. 
Makes 8 tortillas.  Layer the tortillas with plastic wrap or waxed paper if you want to freeze them.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Summer Food and Fun: Part 1

I have a photo viewer full of random summer pictures and instead of trying to make them all fit a theme... I'll just throw them in one or two posts just so I don't keep putting off blogging.
My co-pilot

The Daily Planet Headquarters. Clark Kent and Lois Lane are hard at work.

Playing in the rain

Knowing how busy our fall is going to be (it's always extra busy since Jon is a band director), I've been baking extra of everything this summer and freezing the extra to use later.  I made extra pizza crusts, par baked them, and froze them. 

Tomato taste test.  The heirlooms are winning by a mile.

"Tom" and "Fred"

Polly loves watermelon

Pineapple Upside Down Cake for the cake walk at Jon's church.

"Depression Era" chocolate cake with melted Hershey Bars as frosting for the same church dinner. This recipe was decent but not great.  If you need an inexpensive cake, it'll do but the real thing is definitely better.

One of the baby deer in my mom's yard.  I wasn't fast enough to get a good picture of the mom and the other baby.  So cute!

I love stormy skies.

The balloon lady at the "End of Summer" library party was awesome. Who knew you could make so many things out of balloons?

Apple Muffins from my "Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook".  Not my favorite apple muffin since they were nearly all apple and not much muffin.

Charlotte and I spent 3 hours one day making pickles from the Harmonie pickling cucumbers I grew.  Charlotte sorted the cukes.

I sliced the larger ones and she stuffed the jars. She's a great pickle helper.

We had 11 quarts of pickles and only 7 sealed properly. Grrr....   After 3 hours of work! I really hate canning. I'd much rather freeze our extra produce.  I'm not sure I'll be growing pickling cucumbers again. Pickles in the store are so cheap.

Chunky Homemade Granola (with dark chocolate broken up into it after it's cool). This is my new favorite granola recipe.  I use whatever I have in the pantry as the add-ins in addition the oats. This batch had a ton of unsweetened coconut instead of the nuts and seeds. 

I'm harvesting about a bushel of tomatoes every other day right now.  Whatever isn't quite ripe gets put on a window sill. I'm running out of window sill space.

My version of watermelon granite. Frozen watermelon chunks and a spoon or two of sugar in a blender. It's really hard to get all the chunks to break up because it's so frozen but I don't have a food processor at the moment so I had to make it work (I love Tim Gunn).

Very delicious!

Lego world

Polly's new hair cut. I tried out a HCC (historically correct continental).  Jon wasn't crazy about her "naked butt" but I told him it was better then rosettes on her hips.

Her "jacket" will grow longer and keep her warm this winter without her whole body being covered in long hair.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Late July Garden

 Not bad landscaping for $5, right?  A few packs of seeds (sunflowers and zinnias) and a little weeding and I have a bright, happy front flowerbed. Eventually I'd like this to become a beautiful herb garden but until then, this is an inexpensive fix.

 See the dragon fly?
 And the honey bee?  My backyard neighbor has 11 hives and his bees keep my garden very well pollinated.
 The past 2 weeks have become all about cucumbers and tomatoes. These are Tasty Jade... a Japanese style cucumber that is delicious and doesn't make me burp! Yay! The only issue I'm having with them is that they're extremely prolific and I'm harvesting about 20 of these 10-12" cucumbers every other day!

 I'm also harvesting pickling cucumbers (Harmonie) and all sorts of tomatoes.

 I'm trying to pay attention to the flavor of each variety so I can find our favorites to continue to grow them each year.  So far the heirloom varieties have been the biggest hits.

 This is the produce "delivery" I brought to my mom's house this week. I'm so happy to be able to share our produce.

 In the garden, everything is doing pretty well. I do need to remember to leave more room between rows next year.  I forget how big each plant can get.

 Look at how big the watermelons are getting!  These are Starlight.

 And these are Crimson Sweet (my all time favorite type of watermelon but I've never grown them before).

 Our pumpkins are doing well too.  This one is a Polar Bear pumpkin which can get huge and stays a pretty white.
 This pumpkin is a "Big Doris" pumpkin that will eventually be orange and is now the size of a basket ball so I can only imagine how big it will be when it matures.

 Cucumbers are coming out of my ears.

A new crop of summer squash from my new plants.  I had a 2 week break from figuring out what in the world to do with all the squash.  Luckily I'm ready for the challenge again.  Summer only comes once a year!

Here's the late July garden tour. I'm sorry for my dorky comments. It's like leaving an answering machine message... I never know that to say so I tend to ramble.

If you live nearby, please feel free to stop by for cucumbers and tomatoes anytime! I don't have my produce stand up right now because no one was stopping by. 

This post was shared on Homemade Mondays

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